The late Mayor Ed Lee’s death has sent ripples through The City’s political world, many of which are still unfolding.
Now in the latest political shift for San Francisco since Lee’s death, a major contender to take Mayor Mark Farrell’s former seat on the Board of Supervisors has dropped out of the race.
San Francisco Rec and Parks Commissioner Kat Anderson announced Monday she will no longer run for the Board of Supervisors District 2 seat this November.
At a gathering at the Palace of Fine Arts on Monday, Anderson also announced her endorsement of Supervisor Catherine Stefani.
“She knows what she’s doing, knows what our issues are, knows our people,” Anderson told me over the phone. “She’s the perfect candidate.”
Stefani told me she and Kat have “known each other a long time,” and that “Kat’s support is definitely important to me. She said she’s going to do everything she can to make sure I win.”
Anderson previously ran for the District 2 supervisor seat against Farrell and Janet Reilly in 2010. Anderson aimed for this next race to be her big comeback — but a cascading sequence of events dashed that chance.
Farrell represented District 2 until late last year, in a seat that encompasses San Francisco’s wealthier neighborhoods including the Marina, Pacific Heights, Presidio, Sea Cliff and Laurel Heights. After Lee’s Dec. 12 death, Farrell was appointed as mayor in late January and subsequently appointed his former legislative aide Catherine Stefani to succeed him.
Stefani’s appointment transformed a race that was supposed to be wide open into an uphill battle against an opponent with not only the power of incumbency, but experience in District 2 from 2007 to 2016 serving as an aide in the offices of Supervisors Michela Alioto-Pier and Farrell. Other major candidates include BART Board of Directors member Nick Josefowitz and Schuyler Hudak, a media start-up founder.
“No one expected that. I expected to run in an open race” with no incumbent, Anderson said. When considering how the recent political shakeup affected her chances at the seat, Anderson said she reminds herself that the political outcome pales in comparison to how it started.
“Mayor Ed Lee lost his life, his wife lost a husband, and his kids lost a father,” Anderson said. “I really, really mourn the loss of Mayor Ed Lee.”
Anderson said her decision not to run wasn’t effected by the recently voter-approved Propostion B, authored by Supervisor Aaron Peskin, which requires sitting city commissioners to step down should they run for political office — a measure aimed at ensuring city commissioners do their jobs instead of campaigning.
Anderson, who serves on the Recreation and Park Commission, believes she would be exempted from the measure since her supervisor candidacy was announced before its passage, and would not have had to step down from her seat.
She plans to partner with Stefani on a number of parks initiatives, including potential improvements to Moscone Park in the Marina.
Josefowitz seemed nonplussed by Anderson’s announcement.
“District 2 is frustrated with City Hall not delivering on the real challenges we’re facing, from street homelessness to property crime,” Josefowitz said, in a statement. “We can’t expect things to change if we keep electing the same City Hall insiders. This move today doesn’t change that.”
For her part, Stefani said she’d continue to push for more public safety in her district and citywide. “I plan to do a great job at City Hall and run a great campaign with determination, heart and experience.”
On Guard prints the news and raises hell each week. Email Fitz at firstname.lastname@example.org, follow him on Twitter and Instagram @FitztheReporter, and Facebook at facebook.com/FitztheReporter.